Back on February 13, 2010, we reported that Salesforce had raised $575M in order to fund a more aggressive acquisition policy over the next few quarters that would involve a string of small-to-mid-sized deals, with potential for larger acquisitions.
The first of these new acquisitions occurred earlier this month with that $142M purchase of Jigsaw. This is more money than Salesforce.com spent, collectively, on its previous seven acquisitions. Yet, even after it pays for this pickup, Salesforce.com will still have more than $1B in cash on hand. So our original musing that Salesforce might be in the market to add a marketing automation vendor to it’s portfolio is still intact.
David Taber at CIO wrote a great piece called Salesforce.com and Jigsaw: How the Pieces Fit which explains what this trend means for your business:
…marketing automation is a distinct category of products, even though highly related to sales force automation and CRM. And the marketing automation arena is evolving furiously, particularly as social media and crowd-sourcing techniques come into vogue.
Jigsaw is one such innovator, focusing on the assembly and maintenance of high quality data about prospects in a cross-customer way. By leveraging what each of its customers knows about a given Lead, Jigsaw becomes the “high water mark” source for information from all of its customers. Classic crowd-sourcing, applied to the very difficult problem of lead data enrichment. This has been such a sore spot for marketers because most leads don’t want vendors to know a lot about them. They create multiple avatars to evade the intelligence gathering that’s part of any good marketing automation system. Jigsaw managed to counteract this “keep me anonymous” phenomenon with a set of incentives for members and participants, and garnered a good reputation for lead quality with sales managers.
Think Plaxo meets Wikipedia. And now, that meets Salesforce.com.